Your child’s oral health: a complete guide

by BabyYumYum
Milk teeth are not as strong and durable as adult teeth. But even before milk teeth appear, there are many things parents can do to ensure their child’s long-term dental health.
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Milk teeth are not as strong and durable as adult teeth. But even before milk teeth appear, there are many things parents can do to ensure their child’s long-term dental health.

In this guide, we will take you through the stages of your child’s development to highlight the main challenges and recommend the best routines.

Teething

Most babies are born without teeth; it takes about 6–9 months for the first milk teeth to appear. Milk teeth will start breaking through gums, often causing discomfort, mild swelling and episodes of slight fever. This is all normal. Your baby’s gums can handle the emergence of milk teeth, so you don’t need to medicate or try to alleviate their pain all the time.

Most babies are born without teeth; it takes about 6–9 months for the first milk teeth to appear

A common mistake is trying to eliminate all possible discomfort by excessive use of anaesthetic tooth gel, sanitising, alcohol-based solutions or even giving medication to babies to relieve the pain. Teething is a natural process – it can be unpleasant, but overmedicating a baby can be incredibly dangerous. Here is what you can do instead:

  • Use a teething ring to ease your baby’s discomfort. This ring helps both relieve the pain and develop your baby’s motor skills. Curaprox has a selection of teething rings that are safe and stimulating. The tactile and visual textures of the ring stimulate the sensory system, whilst a built-in rattle will attract your baby’s attention. Your baby will bite into the ring, minimising the pain and stimulating the gums for easier teething.
  • Keep using the teething ring after the first tooth appears. Babies can feel the urge to stimulate their gums well into months 16–18.
  • Gently wipe your baby’s face with a clean damp cloth. The baby will salivate a lot during teething, and excessive saliva can irritate their skin.
  • Let them teethe. Soothe and calm your baby, but do it in person, not through medication, pills or alcohol-containing solutions.
  • Contact your paediatrician if teething is accompanied by prolonged spikes in temperature, diarrhoea and other severe symptoms. Do not give your baby any medication without consulting your paediatrician first.

The Curaprox Teething Ring

The Curaprox Teething Ring jpg - BabyYumYum

  • Helps relieve the discomfort caused by teething
    • Textures, colours and sounds stimulate the brain
    • Built-in toothbrush for your child’s first brushing experience
    • Biofunctional, toxin-free and safe
    • Compatible with the Curaprox Soother Holder to keep the ring off the floor
    • Suitable throughout the entire teething phase

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Using soothers

Soothers (also known as dummies or pacifiers) can help your child stay relaxed, sleep better and feel less anxiety when the mother or caregiver is away. However, their prolonged use can interfere with the development of the mouth, jaw and teeth, unless a properly designed soother is used.

What to look for in a soother:

  • Soft silicone to imitate the natural feel of a nipple.
  • A flat tip that works well with the palate and prevents an open bite.
  • A rounded shape that prevents misalignment of teeth: the front needs to be slightly arched, spreading the suction pressure over to the jawbone and not the teeth.
  • A breathable design that promotes proper breathing through the nose, not the mouth.

Soothers are developed in different sizes based on your child’s weight, so make sure you pick the right size for your baby.

Soothers are developed in different sizes based on your child’s weight, so make sure you pick the right size for your baby.

Remember that a soother is not a replacement for interaction. The best place a baby can be is always with their parent or carer, but a soother can be used as a temporary measure to ease anxiety or keep them calm when, for example, they sleep or you take your child for a walk.

The Curaprox Soother

The Curaprox Soother

  • Soft silicone imitates the natural feel of a nipple, and promotes swallowing
    • A flat tip to prevent an open bite and allow for proper development of the palate
    • A rounded arch-like shape to prevent misalignment of teeth
    • Promotes breathing through the nose
    • Three different sizes, to perfectly fit your child
    • Biofunctional, toxin-free and safe
    • Compatible with the Curaprox Soother Holder

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Taking care of milk teeth

Your child will be using their milk teeth for a good 7–12 years, after which they will be replaced by adult teeth. During this time it is important to preserve milk teeth and make sure they are replaced naturally with the corresponding permanent tooth. If your child loses a milk tooth to caries or injury, there is a good chance that their adult teeth will be displaced. Caries (cavities) can also spread to the upcoming adult tooth. This will require orthodontic treatment in the future.

One of the key challenges with milk teeth is caries. Because of our modern diets, our teeth are under a lot of chemical stress:

  • Processed foods are often high in sugar, which is the main nutrient to bacteria that breed in our mouths. Our bodies are not equipped to naturally counteract such high levels of sugar, so we need extra help.
  • Soda drinks are often not only sugary, but also contain high amounts of acids that offset the chemical balance in the enamel. It is dangerous for adult teeth, and even more dangerous for the thinner enamel in milk teeth.
  • Children tend to be less disciplined than adults, so they can skip brushing more often. Combined with sugary and acidic diets, this can lead to rapid tooth decay and orthodontic problems later in life.
Chocolate and candy have high amounts of sugar - BabyYumYum

Chocolate and candy have high amounts of sugar

Many processed foods are rich in sugars

Most juices have added sugar and acids

Most juices have added sugar and acids

Most juices have added sugar and acids

Soft drinks typically have extraordinarily high amounts of sugar and acids

Soft drinks typically have extraordinarily high amounts of sugar and acids

Here is what you can do:

  • Brush your teeth together. As early as you can, start brushing your baby’s teeth. Use a specialised brush for children, like the Curaprox Baby toothbrush.
  • Brush the teeth together: first, you brush your teeth as your child watches.
  • Then, you let the child brush their teeth on their own.
  • Finally, you help them finish brushing with a proper technique.

For best results:

  1. Put the baby on your lap with their back to you and their head resting against your chest. The baby needs to feel the comfort and care. 
  2. Brush their teeth using small circles, making sure you cover all the surfaces.
  3. As your child gets older, stand behind them, tilting their head backwards.

The Curaprox Baby toothbrush comes in packages of two, for a reason. Give one to your child for experimentation: get them to try brushing themselves, teach them about brushing and let them do it on their own. But as your child experiments, the brush will get bent out of shape very quickly, which is normal. You can then use the second brush included in the brush set to carefully brush your child’s teeth.

Toothpaste is also recommended for young children because it contains fluoride, which is important for the development of strong and healthy teeth. A rice-sized amount of toothpaste is usually enough.

It’s a good idea to make brushing a comfortable and desired experience for your child. If you rush, press too hard or cover just one side of your child’s teeth, the child will learn an improper brushing technique or, even worse, will tend to avoid brushing altogether. Make sure your child loves brushing and does it regularly, not just when you are watching or taking charge.

For babies: Curaprox Baby

  • Your baby’s first toothbrush
    • Ultra-soft high-density bristles for gentle and efficient cleaning. Protects the enamel and the tissues in your child’s mouth
    • Small brush head optimized for babies
    • Rubberised head and handle for softness and protection
    • Textures and colours stimulate the brain
    • Rounded handle with extra grip help children learn to brush
    • A special stand keeps the brush upright, helps maintain order and dry the brush between sessions
    • Biofunctional, toxin-free and safe

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The 4 stages of tooth cleaning with your child:

  1. Dependent cleaning (first tooth)
    You clean your child’s teeth while they experiment with the brush and learn about brushing.
  2. Supported cleaning (2,5 y. o.)
    Your child’s first attempts at independent brushing. Teach them the proper technique and make sure they are accustomed to brushing all areas.
  3. Supervised cleaning (9 y. o.)
    Lead your child by example and make sure the entire family follows the proper brushing rituals.
  4. Independent brushing (young adults)
    Teach your children about the costs of dental treatment vs. dental prophylaxis.

Developing proper habits for life

Your child learns from you and from the things you do together. Make sure that the example you give to your child leads them to proper oral hygiene habits in their future adult life.

Daily rituals

You absolutely cannot skip brushing  your teeth– your child copies your behaviour and learns from you. Your rigid daily routines are imprinted in the habits that your child will carry through life.

Regular dental check-ups

Do not wait for teeth to start hurting before going to the dentist. Make regular appointments with your dentist at least once a year (twice is better), and have your child examined too. Your child needs to understand the importance of prevention over treatment. 

Your child’s first dental appointment can happen right after your baby’s first birthday.

Proper diet

Try keeping sweets, chocolate, fruit juices and soda drinks to the bare minimum – not only in your child’s diet, but also in your own diet. Your child needs to see you enjoy healthy foods and approach high-sugar

CURAPROX CS5460: one of the world’s softest toothbrushes

CURAPROX CS5460: one of the world’s softest toothbrushes

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Visit www.curpaprox.co.za for more info

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